A Guide for Patients in Isolation

Infection Prevention and Control, Colchester Hospital, Turner Road, Colchester, CO4 5JL Tel: 01206 744268

Infection Prevention and Control, Ipswich Hospital, Heath Road, Ipswich, IP4 5PD Tel: 01473 703742


The aim of this leaflet is to give you information in order that you will be aware of the reasons for isolation precautions and care.

More information

It may be necessary to care for patients in single rooms in order to reduce the risk of spreading infections to other patients, or to protect particularly vulnerable patients from infection. If you are cared for in a single room, you are still part of the ward.

Staff will be cleaning their hands regularly using soap and water and/or an alcohol-based hand sanitiser before entering and leaving your room. It is possible that you may not be able to see staff cleaning their hands before they enter, but it is okay to ask staff if they have cleaned their hands.

It is important for staff to clean their hands regularly to maintain the wellbeing of staff and patients alike.

Ideally, you will have a room with en-suite toilet/shower facilities. If you are able to you can use a dedicated shower on the ward, which can be cleaned directly after you have used it. It is preferable that the door to your room is kept closed, as this helps to minimise the spread of bacteria and viruses.

All hospital staff are required to wear protective gloves/aprons/masks when treating you, to avoid further spread of infection. They will wash their hands after they have removed these items, and before they leave the room.

An isolation sign will be placed on the room door to inform people coming to care for or visit you that you are being cared for in isolation.

Visitors will be asked to report to the nurse in charge for advice.

Relatives and friends can visit you, although visitors may be kept to a minimum. Visitors will be asked to wash their hands prior to using the alcohol-based hand sanitiser, before and after visiting.

Visitors do not need to wear gloves and aprons when visiting except when they are assisting with your care. They will be asked to wear disposable gloves and plastic aprons while undertaking this care and then wash their hands after taking off these items.

Relatives, friends and other people who are feeling unwell should not visit you.

Visitors should not visit other patients in the hospital after visiting you and, if unsure, they must discuss it with the nurse in charge. Visitors will be reminded not to sit on the bed.

You will continue to be treated as if you were on the main ward and your treatments and investigations will not be delayed. You will be visited by your doctors and by nurses just the same.

If you need to visit other areas of the hospital, such as X-ray, you will be taken there as normal. The receiving department will have been made aware of your condition, in order for them to put the necessary measures in place to reduce the spread of infection to other patients and visitors to their department.

Your stay in isolation will be kept to a minimum but does vary for each patient. Your nurse or doctor will tell you how long you can expect to be isolated.

You can keep your personal belongings with you. These should be kept to a minimum to allow the housekeeping staff to access all surfaces in order to clean your room thoroughly.

Personal items of laundry may be taken home and washed by relatives or friends at the hottest temperature suitable for the fabric.

Personal hygiene Attention to personal hygiene is very important. It is important that you wash daily and ask for assistance if required.

Hand washing Wash your hands with soap and water, then rinse and dry (staff will help you with this if necessary): • Betore eating or handling food.

  • After using the toilet facilities.
  • Before or after going to another department.

Change clothing daily If you are well enough to take exercise, please discuss with your nurse.

Please ensure you wash and dry your hands before leaving your room.

For more information on isolation, please speak to the nursing staff on your ward, your doctor or the Infection Prevention and Control nurses.

We hope that the information in this leaflet reassures you and helps you to understand the measures in place which are there as part of our continued commitment to reduce the risk of infection at Colchester and Ipswich hospitals.

The Infection Prevention and Control nurses can be contacted: 

  • at Colchester Hospital: on 01206 744268 (office hours) 
  • at Ipswich Hospital: on 01473 703742 (office hours).


When you attend hospital you will be asked to confirm your first and last names, date of birth, postcode and NHS number, if you know it, and to let us know if you have any allergies.

If you or a family member has recently been in Colchester or Ipswich Hospital, you can tell us about your experience by searching for ‘Colchester’ or ‘Ipswich’ on the NHS website (, by writing to the appropriate address on the back of this leaflet or by filling in a ‘Friends & Family’ questionnaire at the hospital.

Please raise any concerns with the ward or department you are in. Ask to speak with the ward sister, matron or department manager. If your concerns cannot be resolved or you wish to make a formal complaint, please call PALS (Patient Advice & Liaison Service) on 0800 783 7328, pick up a PALS leaflet or visit and search for ‘PALS’.